The Nelson Mandela Bay Council mourned during a special council meeting on Tuesday 17 January and pledged their unified support to the families of the three ANC Ward Councillors who lost their lives in a tragic car accident on Sunday, 15 January.
The three deceased Councillors, along with 11 other Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality councillors, were travelling to Port Elizabeth from East London after attending lectures at the Nelson Mandela Law School at the Fort Hare campus when the accident took place.
The group had spent most of last week attending classes at the Fort Hare University and were all first year students in a Local Government Law and Publication Administration qualification. The councillors who passed away in the accident were Cllr Noncedo Ngqondi, Cllr Mxulisi Gumenge and Cllr Phumeza Lose.
The other 11 Councillors who escaped with their lives: Cllr Vuyani Dyantyi, Cllr Andile Gqabi, Cllr Mbongeni Bungane, Cllr Loyiso Stemele, Cllr Mzukisi Ncamani, Cllr Veliswa Ndidi, Cllr Nomakhazi Cobo, Cllr Thanduxolo Jacobs, Cllr Michael Tofile, Cllr Linda Mlomo and Cllr Jan Lindoor.
The absence of these three late Councillors was painstakingly felt when their seats were replaced with their photographs and wreaths, which were later handed over to the families by the Executive Mayor, Cllr Zanoxolo Wayile, and the Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Nancy Sihlwayi.
The Speaker of Council, Cllr Maria Hermans, announced a period of mourning, which she said “must not be abused, but rather used as a time for councillors to go back to the Wards of the three councillors who passed and ensure that their communities are taken care of.”
Cllr Hermans commented that the three Councillors had served their duties with diligence, dignity and honour.
Mayor Wayile said they will not only mourn for their fellow comrades and colleagues who passed, but also celebrate the life and political contribution of these gallant fighters.
“We have lost of our youngest councillors. They were revolutionaries. Every year on the 15 January, we must remember these gallant fighters,” said Mayor Wayile.
Also present at the Special Council meeting was South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Deputy Chairperson and Cacadu District Municipality Speaker, Cllr De Vos, who said the death of the three councillors was “a huge loss to the Salga in the Eastern Cape.”
Following the Special Council meeting, the political leadership of Council travelled to the accident scene, situated 80km outside of Port Elizabeth, to lay wreaths and host a prayer session for the departed.
Funeral arrangements are not available as yet.